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KKW makes a splash at Junior Olympics
From left, Craig Waverunners swimmer Wes Mank, and the Ketchikan Killer Whales’ Trevor Dash and Evan Dash enjoy representing Southeast Alaska at the Junior Olympics in Anchorage. All three competed in the boys 11-12 year olds age group. Photo courtesy of Patrick Burda

Daily News Sports Editor

The Ketchikan Killer Whales certainly made a splash at the Alaska Junior Olympics meet in Anchorage on April 25-28.

Of 22 swim teams from around the state, the Killer Whales were smack dab in the middle — placing 11th overall, with 374 points.

But for five swimmers from Ketchikan, the group was at the top of the list.

“(Placing 11th is) pretty darn good because every team that’s ahead of us had relays,” Killer Whales’ coach Patrick Burda said. “Everybody else that’s behind us didn’t. So the way I see it, with only five kids, we beat everybody out that didn’t have relays. So, I think we did outstanding.”

Emma Campbell, Larry Kuharich, Maya Smith, Trevor Dash and Evan Dash represented the First City at the Junior Olympics meet at Bartlett High School. And when the heat was on, they combined to set 29 personal bests against their competition.

“It was pretty cool,” Evan Dash said. “I didn’t think I would do this well at this meet because there are a lot of kids that are faster than me.

“The other kids pushed me to go faster, by going faster in their swims,” he continued. “I wanted to keep up with them. So I pushed myself to go faster.”

The Killer Whales had a 83% best time improvement rate, which surpassed the winners of that award — the Baranof Barracudas Swim Club, from Sitka — with 71%. But Baranof had the required six-swimmer minimum.

“It’s a shame we didn’t have a sixth swimmer,” Burda said. “Had we had one more, I think we would’ve gotten that (award). And I don’t think we’ve gotten (it) before. We’ve had swimmers improve, but I think that’s the highest we’ve seen — that I’ve at least tracked. So that was pretty neat.”

In addition to personal bests for each Killer Whales swimmer, Trevor Dash set five team records for 11-12 year-old boys in his final meet as a 12-year-old.

Trevor Dash turned 13 years old on May 12 — Mother’s Day.

“I had to work a lot harder to get first (place) in my events,” Trevor Dash said. “I did pretty good.”

He was a perfect 7-for-7 in his events, placing first in each one, as well as personal bests.

And in addition, Trevor Dash set team records in the 1,000-yard freestyle, 1,650-yard freestyle, 50-yard butterfly, 200-yard IM and 400-yard IM.

Trevor Dash, and Craig Waverunners swimmer Wes Mank, tied for the high-point award in the age group, with 140 overall points.

Evan Dash, who already has the team record in the 200-yard butterfly, continued lowering his time. He finished the event in 2:34.87, placing third.

And like his brother, Evan Dash hit seven personal bests.

“I like the longer (events) for freestyle,” Evan Dash said. “But the shorter (events) for the other strokes, except for the butterfly and IM. I like the 400 IM and 200 fly. ... I like the butterfly because I’m one of the best at it.”

Evan Dash also had a top-10 finish in the boys’ 11-12 year old high-point award. He finished tied for eighth, with 104 total points.

“(The Dash brothers) had a real outstanding meet, and it shows,” Burda said. “I mean, you show up every day, you work hard, listen to your coaches, and have a good attitude — you can do things that you want.”

And the Killer Whales’ Smith did just that.

At nine-years-old, Smith qualified for the Western Zone Age Group Championships meet in Portland, Oregon later this summer.

“It’s a phenomenal thing,” Burda said.”There’s only one other 10-and-under girl in the state that’s going. And there are only 45 kids in the state that go.

“(It’s) the fastest age group meet in the country,” he continued. “So it’s kind of like the equivalent of the US Open for age groups, if that makes sense.”

Smith is going out with a bang. Junior Olympics was her final swim meet with the Killer Whales. Her family will be moving to Juneau before the beginning of next school year.

“Kids don’t usually make the 10-and-under (zone) cuts until they’re 10 (years old),” Burda said. “So seeing her make it, when she’s essentially at the bottom of the age bracket, is pretty phenomenal.”

In regards to the accomplishment, Smith had a giant grin on her face.

“I think the coolest part was just getting into the water, altogether,” she said. “After you get out, you know there (are) people who are trying to do the same thing as you — other people trying to have the same goals. And you let everything out in the water.”

Smith also tied for third in her age group’s high-point award, scoring 117 points.

Each of the Killer Whales had the competitive spirit, and left ‘everything out in the water.’

“Right before my races, I always get a little bit nervous ... when I’m behind the blocks, the heat before my races,” Campbell said. “But then it goes right away.”

And the results prove it.

“They all came out with something positive,” Burda said.

Here are the results from from the meet:

2019 Alaska Junior Olympics

April 25-29, Anchorage



EMMA CAMPBELL, Girls 15 & over

100-yard backstroke, 1:08.64; 100-yard freestyle, 1:00.66; 200-yard backstroke, 2:33.72; 200-yard freestyle, 2:13.36; 200-yard IM, 2:34.32; 400-yard IM, 5:26.21*; 500-yard freestyle, 6:18.37.

EVAN DASH, Boys 11-12 year olds

100-yard butterfly, 1:10.64*; 100-yard IM, 1:11.78*; 1,000-yard freestyle, 13:31.80; 1,650-yard freestyle, 22:17.20*; 200-yard butterfly, 2:34.87*; 200-yard IM, 2:33.71*; 400-yard IM, 5:27.43*; 50-yard butterfly, 30.59*.

TREVOR DASH, Boys 11-12 year olds

100-yard butterfly, 1:02.28*; 1,000-yard freestyle, 11:54.55*; 1,650-yard freestyle, 20:09.33*; 200-yard butterfly, 2:17.72*; 200-yard IM, 2:16.69*; 400-yard IM, 4:48.87*; 50-yard butterfly, 27.78*.

LARRY KUHARICH, Boys 13-14 year olds

100-yard backstroke, 1:06.92; 100-yard freestyle, 54.41*; 200-yard freestyle, 2:05.82*; 200-yard IM, 2:22.02*; 400-yard IM, 5:12.23; 50-yard freestyle, 24.51*; 500-yard freestyle, 5:32.26*.

MAYA SMITH, Girls 10 & under

100-yard backstroke, 1:18.15*; 100-yard freestyle, 1:09.45*; 100-yard IM, 1:23.71*; 200-yard freestyle, 2:36.28*; 200-yard IM, 2:59.30*; 50-yard backstroke, 34.62*; 50-yard backstroke, 34.62*; 50-yard freestyle, 31.25*; 50-yard backstroke (time trial), 34.41*.

*Denotes a personal best



ADA CREIGHTON, Girls 11-12 year olds

1,650-yard freestyle, 21:53.39; 200-yard breaststroke, 3:03.21 (prelim); 100-yard freestyle, 1:04.81 (prelim); 400-yard IM, 5:41.18; 200-yard IM, 2:44.26; 100-yard IM, 1:18.95 (prelim); 1,000-yard freestyle, 13:07.64.

NEVE CREIGHTON, Girls 10 & Under

50-yard breaststroke, 47.57; 50-yard backstroke, 41.62; 100-yard breaststroke, 1:40.90; 100-yard backstroke, 1:28.70; 100-yard IM, 1:31.93; 100-yard freestyle, 1:18.84.

TAIYA WELLS, Girls 11-12 year olds

50-yard breaststroke 40.18 (prelim); 200-yard breaststroke, 3:04.79 (prelim); 100-yard breaststroke, 1:25.39 (prelim).

MANAMI LEHMAN, Girls 11-12 year olds

50-yard backstroke, 31.62; 50-yard freestyle, 29.48 (prelim); 500-yard freestyle, 6:34.81; 100-yard freestyle, 1:02.33; 100-yard backstroke, 1:10.24; 50-yard butterfly, 31.08.

WES MANK, Boys 11-12 year olds

50-yard backstroke, 29.06; 50-yard freestyle, 25.50; 500-yard freestyle, 5:39.24; 100-yard freestyle, 56.24; 100-yard backstroke, 1:03.71; 200-yard backstroke, 2:16.70; 200-yard freestyle, 2:04.83.

ETHAN DILL, Boys 13-14 year olds

50-yard freestyle, 25.57 (prelim); 100-yard freestyle, 55.81 (prelim); 200-yard freestyle, 2:07.90 (prelim).

ELIAS MANK, Boys 13-14 year olds

50-yard freestyle, 27.35 (prelim); 100-yard freestyle, 59.47 (prelim); 200-yard freestyle, 2:14.12.


1. Aurora Swim Team (3,086)

2. Glacier Swim Club (3,055.5)

3. Northern Lights Swim Club (2,877.5)

4. Stingray Swim Team (2,281)

5. Chugiak Aquatics Club (1,846)

6. Midnight Sun Swim Team (1,244)

7. Baranof Barracudas Swim Club (657.5)

8. Anchorage YMCA Swim Team (557)

9. Kodiak Kingfishers Swim Club (526)

10. Kachemak Swim Club (454.5)

11. Ketchikan Killer Whales (374)

12. Peninsula Piranhas Swim Team (321)

13. Craig Waverunners Swim Club (246.5)

14. Viking Swim Club (222)

15. Haines Dolphins Swim Team (218.5)

16. Wrangell Swim Club (203)

17. Wasilla Waves Swim Club (174)

18. North Pole Aquatic Club (131)

19. Soldotna Silver Salmon Swim Team (107)

20. Seward Tsunami Swim Club (98)

21. Cordova Iceworm Swim Team (54)

22. Valdez Torpedoes Swim Club (29)